________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 16 . . . . April 9, 1999

cover The No-Boys Club.

Ho Che Anderson.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/Douglas & McIntyre (Distributed by University of Toronto Press), 1998.
153 pp., pbk. & cloth, $7.95 (pbk), $14.95 (cl).
ISBN 0-88899-321-8 (pbk), ISBN 0-88899-322-6 (cl).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.
Review by Betsy Fraser.

** /4


What's with these girls? Do their whole lives revolve around boys and talking about them? I gotta toughen 'em up. You know what I'd really like to do? I'd like to create a special little place where they wouldn't feel like they always had to think and talk about nothing but boys.
Lark Farragut, the 10-year-old heroine of The No-Boys Club, is sure that she does not like boys. Lark sees her mother upset when receiving divorce papers, and she gathers clues about the evils of the opposite sex from her mother's distress. This stance makes her life, and the summer during which the book takes place, very confusing when she realizes that she has feelings for a boy.

      In this coming-of-age novel, Lark alternates between speaking with the vocabulary and shaky grammar of an angry child and the vocabulary and metaphors of an adult. The book's beginning introduces readers to Lark and the object of her frustration/attraction, Skip, aka the Motorboy. Lark will spend the rest of the book vacillating amongst ignoring, chasing and making a fool of Skip.

      This is a book that means well, but which is confusing in its presentation of a l0-year-old girl who can kiss a boy and then pretend to be a Sailor Scout in the same afternoon. Lark is not meant to be a perfect character: she is supposed to learn from her mother and her friends that life and relationships are not perfect, but that, in the end, they are worth fighting for. A more consistent presentation of Lark would have gone a long way toward overcoming the shortcomings of characterization in the book.

Not Recommended.

Betsy Fraser is a librarian with the Calgary Public Library System.

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ISSN 1201-9364